The name discussion began
After years as a global supplier of asbestos from the nearby Jeffrey Mine, there was a suggestion in 2006 that a name change would benefit the town. This was rejected by many. Asbestos produced livelihoods for the community for 141 years. Even with it’s tarnished reputation as a deadly mineral, it continued its emotional attachment to many in the town. Generations worked the mine and it brought prosperity to Asbestos, Quebec.
The name discussion continued
The Jeffrey Mine closed in 2011. That made it necessary to bring in new businesses, but few were willing to attach their names to a town called Asbestos. For decades it was known that asbestos, while it had many good qualities, had negatives that were far grimmer. Exposure to asbestos can bring about lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma – a disease that can take decades to diagnose, but can kill within a year to five years. Patients rarely live any longer. Residents of Asbestos experienced the ravages of this disease, so were aware of the price paid for the years of prosperity.
With the facts undeniable, the mayor once again brought up a name change in 2019. While the emotions were still there, with many against a change, four potential names were presented to the citizens. None of these was a clear winner, so eventually six names were submitted for a vote. Residents 14 years and older were eligible.
Asbestos, Quebec has a new name
On October 19, after three rounds of voting, Val-des-Sources won with 51% of the vote. Translated, the name means “Valley of the Springs.” Nearly half the eligible population voted, 3,000 residents in all.
Huges Grimard, mayor, said, “I know that changing the name is a very emotional subject — for us, too — since the beginning. But to have all the citizens who came out to vote, that tells me that we succeeded in winning over the population, and that makes me very proud.”